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Alumni and Friends Making an Impact

Flyers Are Family

“I feel like one of the best lessons I learned at UD is to finish what you start,” said Nadaya Parks ’16.

And Parks doesn’t consider her work with the University finished yet. In fact, her passion for and involvement with UD has only grown and deepened in the years since her graduation.

Like so many other alumni, Parks treasured her time at the University of Dayton and wanted to continue a connection with the University. But she wasn’t really sure how to do so, until one day in 2017, when she saw a social media post about the Columbus Alumni Community’s Christmas off Campus event.

“My work has moved me to several different places, and in each instance Christmas off Campus was my way to get plugged in to the local alumni community and connect with my Flyer family in the area,” said Parks. To date, she’s helped with Christmas off Campus in Columbus, Boston, Austin and, now, Dallas.

Family — it’s the through line that defines Parks’ time at UD and what motivates her to keep saying “yes” to new volunteer opportunities.

“UD was the first school where students actually spoke to me while I was on my campus tour. Other colleges were to the point about their programs, housing, etc., but none of them made me feel welcomed in the same way UD did,” said Parks.

As the first in her family to have a traditional four-year college experience, Parks valued the sense of community and support she found at UD, and more specifically in the Multi-Ethnic Education and Engagement Center. “I felt like I found my family in MEC,” said Parks.

She wants to do what she can to ensure today’s students and young alumni have that same support. That’s why in just the last year she said “yes” to two new volunteer leadership roles — the day10 executive committee and the campaign cabinet. Working with day10, Parks and other alumni who have graduated within the past 10 years provide valuable feedback to UD and create services and events to help young alumni navigate life after graduation. In her role on the campaign cabinet, she is working with alumni of all ages to help advance UD’s We Soar campaign — the first comprehensive fundraising campaign in over 20 years.

“I felt so supported at UD. The amount of wisdom and care the faculty at UD poured into me made me feel like family. They went above and beyond — whether personal or academic,” said Parks.

Parks encourages other young alumni to figure out what they are passionate about and then make time to give back. “I’m all about pouring back into other people. I needed someone to advocate for me when I was at UD, so I want to be able to advocate for others,” said Parks.

And whether it’s mentoring a struggling student, providing feedback on the student experience, or connecting new donors with UD, she’s doing what she can to make UD the best it can be for current and future Flyers.

“I want to stay connected and support UD, because that is what you do with your family,” said Parks.

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